The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Death for Selfies: The Short Life of Instagram Beauties


Source: RIA News

“Miss Baghdad - 2015” Tara Fares was killed in her own car: two bullets in the head, one in the chest. A couple of weeks earlier, two more Iraqi Instagram beauties had died under mysterious circumstances.

For lovers of selfies in the Middle East is not easy. They also want a bright life, but it turns out short. Girls become victims of angry fellow citizens or even relatives, writes RIA News.

"She posts too revealing photos"

“The murder of Tara literally screams about the problems of this society: discrimination, lack of rights and freedoms. Sympathy alone is indispensable here, ”the fans of the Iraqi model Tara Fares reacted to the news of her death.

On the evening of September 27, a 22-year-old girl was driving her sports car through the Kam Sarah district of Baghdad. Tara became famous back in 2015 when she won the Miss Iraq title. Her career took off immediately after returning from Europe. A style icon, the face of fashion brands, a popular video blogger - Tara preferred to live in her native Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, but she often traveled to Baghdad for work.

Every day, the girl posted photos on Instagram, collecting tens of thousands of views and likes. She entered the top of the most popular social media stars in Iraq with 2,7 million subscribers. Some admired her posts demanding equal rights for men and women, others criticized her for being "too frank" by Eastern standards. To a Western person, such photos would seem completely ordinary: the girl wore shorts and miniskirts, got a few tattoos, took selfies and stood confidently in front of the camera.

And now her life was cut short. Towards the car jumped out a few people with guns in their hands and opened fire. Doctors arrived quickly, but the girl had already died from her injuries.

This murder recalled two more mysterious deaths of popular Instagram stars. In August of this year, relatives discovered the body of Rafif al-Yaseri, who owned the Barbie beauty salon and often posted her pictures on social networks. In the photographs, she mainly showed perfect makeup and beauty novelties. The police did not name the reason for her death. And the testimony of relatives is too confused.

A couple of weeks later, also under mysterious circumstances, Rasha al-Hassan, a beauty expert and owner of the Viola beauty salon in Baghdad, died. The day before, she published a post on Facebook dedicated to the first day of Eid al-Adha: “In the morning of this holiday, think over your wishes, write prayers, prepare for the great day, and the generous Lord will hear them and open the gates to heaven.”

“Now it’s the turn of the owners of beauty salons,” said Faik al-Sheikh Ali, a member of the Iraqi parliament, on Twitter. The politician condemned all “enemies of beauty and killers of creativity”.

Don't you brother me

This dislike of publicity on Instagram is not unique to Iraq. In July 2016, a Pakistani model and blogger, known under the pseudonym Kandil Baloch, strangled his brother, furious with bold pictures that she posted on social networks. The girl was 26 years old, in her homeland she was considered a celebrity, and for her magnificent forms she was known as “Pakistani Kim Kardashian”.

Kandil, who, by the way, supported the whole family, lived separately, but that evening she stopped by to visit her parents. There was one of her brothers named Wasim. He began to scold his sister for "indecent behavior." The girl did not remain silent, the brother and sister quarreled.

The next morning, the parents found their daughter's body. Vasim immediately confessed to the murder. He stated that he did not regret what he had done, because by publishing pictures in a bikini, "his sister disgraced the family." One of the brothers supported him.

The girl was killed with extreme cruelty: they gave her a pill first, and then they sewed up her mouth and nose, blocking access to air. After the funeral, the father of the deceased told reporters that Baloch gave part of the money received for Instagram posts to brother Vasim. And he willingly took.

Rich can all

In many closed Muslim countries situations are beginning to change. In Iran, known for its severe religious conservatism, golden youth has created an Instagram account Rich Kids Of Tehran (“Rich Children of Tehran”) and regularly talks about his adventures.

In the pictures, girls in bikinis are relaxing in luxurious villas, walking bare-shouldered in the streets or sitting in cafes and restaurants. Young people are photographed against the backdrop of expensive cars, fly by helicopters and their own planes, live in houses like palaces, wear branded items, not forgetting to shoot it all on iPhones.

The less well-to-do are also actively posting photos on social media that in the Middle East would be called “pretty candid”. Iranian Instagram account appeared My Stealthy Freedom (“My Secret Freedom”), in which women post pictures without hijabs. And they have to take pictures secretly, for example, in a car or on a deserted beach.

Some go even further, breaking prohibitions and Muslim traditions. In 2015, the adult film Women of the Middle East was released in the United States. The main roles were played not just by actresses hungry for fame and money, but by girls from Pakistan and Lebanon who profess Islam. According to them, they went into the porn industry in order to "open the way for women in the veil, hijab and headscarf to the world of publicity." They regularly receive threats.

Relatives kills

If in Iraq one of the angry users of social networks may be behind the murder of girls, then in Pakistan and India they are sometimes dealt with by their families. As in the case of Kandil Baloch, the relatives believe that they should wash away the “shame” with blood. The reason for the reprisal can serve as completely insignificant, in the opinion of a Western person, reasons.

Hundreds of women die there every year at the hands of relatives dissatisfied with the violation of traditional rules. More often than not, these "honor killers" avoid jail time and only rarely are punished with several years in prison.

For years, human rights defenders in India have been pushing for a law to regulate preventive measures for such moral advocates. But society is split: conservatives agree that women "asked for it themselves." And the beauty of girls still remains a terrible force, which offended men do not allow them to use.

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